This article is all about helping you work with the intense energy of your premenstrual phase of your cycle (AKA. Luteal Phase. Aka. PMS partayyyy 🖤🎉). But first I want to get into WHY this information is important to know.
As females we’ve had to deal with a lot of shit and shame around our menstrual cycles.
I remember learning that my monthly bleed was:
- needed to be hidden and never talked about
- disgusting to men
- an annoyance
- needed a birth control pill to “fix” it
- something that I should just plug with a tampon, take an advil, and push myself through my day as if my energy levels were just the same all month long
I wasn’t taught:
- to honour my cyclical rhythm and rest when needed
- to listen to my bodies needs
- that my blood was sacred
- that it was okay to feel different each week and have different needs than men
- that food could be medicine and help balance my hormones
- that there was nothing to “fix” and that the pills I was taking were making things worse and numbing out the messages from my body
- that I didn’t have to hide my cycle to make others more comfortable (mostly men or womxn stuck in patriarchal conditioning). Read: care-taking their feelings, while invalidating my own natural experience of being in a female body.
- that feeling my feelings can be done in a healthy and healing way.
And because I wasn’t given this information growing up, I had a pretty wacky relationship to my menstrual cycle. Especially the second half it; my luteal phase (or premenstrual phase) and menstruation itself.
I basically tried to pretend it didn’t exist. I tried hiding it. I tried being more like a man to live in a man’s world. Which involved me numbing out my feelings trying to feel the same all the time, either by emotionally suppressing what was coming up, or else by taking the birth control pill and painkillers throughout the month.
But of course this just made me feel gray and numb in my life. Disconnected from myself and my joy. And stuck living in a fog.
It also meant that I was rejecting a core part of myself.
My femininity. My womxnhood. My cycles and seasons.
And shame and self-rejection is not a recipe for healthy relationships, harmony or overall well-being and celebration of life itself.
So I went on a mission to reclaim my menstrual cycle and heal.
And when I learned to reclaim this part of my nature, and wrote a new EMPOWERING story around my cycle, I noticed some HUGE improvements in my life!
- I felt ALIVE again.
- I had stronger personal boundaries.
- I improved my self-care
- I increased my energy and productivity.
- I increased harmony in my relationships.
- I felt more worthy because I wasn’t carrying around shame or feeling “broken” for having a female body that bleeds and changes each week.
- I stopped care-taking other people feelings who didn’t want to face their feelings of discomfort around the natural female body.
- I started to attract partners and friends who also honoured and celebrated my body, my cycles and my seasons.
SO… I decided to create a 4 part blog series to help YOU begin to honour each phase of your menstrual cycle.
This is the first post and it’s all about the Premenstrual Phase, which isn’t the start of our cylcle, but it’s where I am while writing about it, so I figured it’s a perfect time to transmit the energy of it, and share what helps me get through it.
YOUR LUTEAL PHASE (PREMENSTRUAL PHASE):
This part of your cycle is right after ovulation and before menstruation. It usually starts around day 23 and goes till the end of your cycle (whatever day that is for you before you start your period).
Some fun Goddessy energy associations for the premenstrual phase are:
- Moon phase: Waning
- Season: Autumn (or Fall)
- Archetype: Witch, Dark Goddess of Destruction + Creation (think: Kali Ma) or the Wild Woman (which also happened to be one of the most feared and repressed feminine archetypes in our culture because she is powerful AF, untamed, “dirty”, and uncontrollable.)
- Element: water
- Energy: feminine (or yin)
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR BODY
Your premenstrual phase is right after you ovulate and release an egg. If it wasn’t fertilized, a couple things will happen to your body hormonally:
Your levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone will drop. Which has a bunch of uncomfortable effects on our feels, such as:
- Random bouts of anxiety and nervousness from estrogen withdrawal plus a reduction in serotonin (a mood stabilizer).
- An increase in temper and irritability (BITCHMODE activated!) from an increase in noradrenaline.
- A decrease in progesterone brings on the waterworks. (Oh hay there random bouts of weeping and tearing up.)
- Feeling like ya can’t get shit done, plus a negative mental loop of “I’m not good enough” mixed with feelings of self-doubt around your appearance and abilities, which you can thank dropping Testosterone for.
It’s no wonder A LOT of females resist or straight up HATE this part of their cycle. We weren’t educated that it is NATURAL and okay to feel this way, and that it’s not “our fault” we feel emotional and insecure. That it’s just straight up the way our bodies work chemically. (However with that being said, if these swings are SUPER intense, I always recommend that you talk to a professional Health Care Practitioner. I needed to work with a Naturopath to help me balance and regular my hormones during this phase).
But even though this part fucking sucks and is super uncomfortable, there are some hidden gems of wisdom for us if we learn to embrace this phase and work with its medicine.
THE GIFTS OF THE PREMENSTRUAL PHASE:
- Your intuition is heightened because you are more connected to your emotional body (trust your body, your downloads and your self).
- You have a high BULLSHIT detector and can call things how they are.
- You have an increase in psychic abilities being you’re extra sensitive right now.
- You can bust through creative blocks with your fire and passion.
- You can spot a problem and have the inspiration to fix it.
- You’re connected to your deeper Truth.
- You can reclaim your inner BITCH who’s just looking out for you and protecting you.
Not honouring these gifts or harnessing the darker energy of this phase (in a healthy way), can sometimes manifest as physical pain, lashing out, or a drama or crisis in your life. Which of course is just trying to get our attention so that we can heal.
We can also negatively perceive it as being crazy or messy when we suppress our feelings during this time.
But if we work with the energy of this phase in a holistic and healing way, it can become a time of reconnecting to your powerful boundaries and integrating darkness to transform it into Truth and strength.
HOW TO USE THIS ENERGY:
- Seasonally you’re in Autumn, which means letting go, cleaning, preparing and completion.
- Brain chemistry is good for task completion and detail oriented things, so take advantage of this and finish projects, check off to-do lists, and organize things.
- Spend more time “indoors” which can either be literally, by saying no to more events and activities and staying home; and also metaphorically, meaning “going within” and spending more time reflecting and introverting.
- Cleaning house (think the energy of raking the leaves in the fall)- get organized in your life. Clean your outer environment and inner environment. Let go of what no longer serves you. Set stuff aside to “Spark Joy” some shit later on.
- Set boundaries (or become more irritated… it’s up to you!). Say no more often. Ask for space. Allow yourself to have an edge.
- Practice self-care and speak up for yourself.
- First half of this phase: Your energy might be higher in the first half of the week, higher intensity exercise may feel delicious such has strength training or power yoga.
- Second half of this phase: you may be craving more softness, like nature walks, yin yoga or Pilates.
FOOD AS MEDICINE:
PMS is common due to an imbalance of too much estrogen to progestrone ratio, but it’s not necessary. Here are some food suggestions to eat during this week of your cycle:
- Foods rich in vitamin B for sugar cravings.
- Leafy greens to boost calcium and magnesium while reducing fluid retention.
- Roasted root veggies to help large intestines and liver flush out extra estrogen.
- SEED CYCLING: 1-2 tablespoons daily of sesame or sunflower seeds (sesame and sunflower both contain lignans which block excess estrogen. Sesame are high in omega 6 and vitamin E which helps in increasing progestrone. Sunflower are high in omega 3 which are anti-estrogenic.)
Credited Sources: nutritional information from Jasmine Webb of Humble Wild Wellness (holistic nutritionist, birth doula, fertility awareness educator and womb connector ) and Alisa Vitti, HHC, AADP from FloLiving (Holistic Health Counselor, American Association of Drugless Practitioners):
- First half of this phase: you may be in the mood and ready to go, but need a bit more stimulation to reach orgasm, and that’s okay. I encourage you to practice communicating to your partner what your needs are. Don’t be shy about telling them if you need a bit more time to warm up.
- Second half of this phase: you may need to feel more safety and softness. Ask your partner to court you in a way that feels best for you. Maybe this means slow and soft sensual experiences. Romance. Buying you flowers. Setting the mood with candles and music. Holding space for more emotions during sex, etc. (I cry a lot during sex in this phase and it feels fucking fabulous to open my heart. And often times I need to feel really safe, held, and a sense of gentleness in order for me to open up the wild woman in bed… who can be really unpredictable, aggressive and primal, but needs the soft courting, tenderness and release of tears first to feel safe going there).
- Ask for your needs to be met. Listen to your body. Let go of how you think sex “should be”. Speak your truth. And say no if that’s what you need.
The premenstrual phase of your cycle is all about bringing things up and out. It’s a time to LET GOOOOOO of what’s no longer serving you.
It can feel like a death, because in some ways it is, as we say goodbye and grieve what we are purging emotionally, physically and energetically.
- JOURNALING PRACTICE
Remember this is not a time to be censoring yourself in your writing or be “politically correct”… this is a time to purge the dark stuff.
Give yourself permission to LET IT ALL OUT. Practice holding space for yourself and just accepting and witnessing your expression without judgement or making yourself wrong for it.
- Write out a list of everything that is pissing you off. Who? What? Where? How?
- Write an “I HATE….” list.
- Write out all the ways you’re not taking care of yourself and what you can do to take care of yourself moving forward.
- Answer the question, “What is here for me to learn right now?”
- Answer the question, “What is really underneath this emotion I’m feeling?”
*Note: If big truths come out, generally speaking it’s not the best time to act on them. Take note, and if it can wait, save it for a time in your cycle to express or act on it (like the Spring or Summer phase) when you can more easily connect to communicating and acting in a compassionate, grounded way.
2. EMBODIMENT PRACTICE:
An embodiment practice is kinda like acting. You “become” and move as a certain energy within you.
Embodiment practices can be super healing. They can:
- Help integrate and bring self-love to lost/rejected parts of yourself.
- Help you let go of limiting, repressing conditioning keeping you rigid and “stuck”.
- Produce feelings of freedom and wholeness.
- Allow you to get out of your head and into your body.
- Help you process challenging emotions like rage and grief in a healthy and healing expression.
- Reconnect you to your primal impulses to be able to trust your body more.
Overall embodiment practices are a fun way to heal at the deepest level if you ask me. Somatic work (meaning ” relating to the body “) is all the rage right now in the Transformational space because: These. Practices. Work!
So I created a Wild Primal Embodiment Ritual for you to do at home. This practice is specifically designed to help you process the feelings that come up during your Luteal/premenstrual phase.
It will also help you reclaim your inner Wild Woman. Or Dark Goddess within. This can be a destructive feminine force. The Witch. The Queen of the Underworld. Whatever that archetype looks like for you.
Another good example of the energy this practice will help you reclaim is KALI MA (aka. The Divine Mother. The Dark Mother. The Terrible Mother. A hindu goddess of time, creation, preservation and destruction. She is fearsome, but compassionate. And can destroy the ego and help you cut out shit that no longer serves you.)
And if this sounds exciting (and maybe a little bit weird, but like… your kinda weird), then you can sign up for it below and I’ll send it to ya!
(You’ll also be added to my bi-weekly Muse Letter which gets exclusive content like this practice sent straight to your inbox.)
If you’ve taken anything from this article, I hope it’s this: it’s okay to feel your feelings, need rest, and have a darkside. You are not “broken” for having a female body that changes each week.
And even if we experience pain during our premenstrual phase, it doesn’t have to create suffering when we can learn to accept it and receive its gifts.
If you have any comments or questions for me, I love hearing from you! You can reach out any time here.
And if you know a sister who could benefit from this article, give it a share!
With love + darkness,
Disclaimer: I’m a blogger and life coach, I’m not a medical health care professional, so the information in this post cannot give medical advice or diagnosis. The information in this post should not be a substitution for physician consultation, evaluation or treatment if you are experiencing hormonal health issues related to your cycle and body. Always talk to your doctor or naturopath if something “feels off”.
Additional Resources and sources of information for this blog post:
Jasmine Webb, Humble Wild Wellness, Holistic Fertility Map
Lister, Lisa. Love Your Lady Landscape: Trust Your Gut, Care for down There and Reclaim Your Fierce and Feminine SHE Power. Hay House, 2016.
Vitti, Alisa. Woman Code: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source. HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2014.
Vitti, Alisa. MyFLO App.Version 1.13, FLO Living LLC, 2017. Flo Living, www.floliving.com